Right now, the Jaguars are at the bottom of the league with only 3 sacks and the same thing is on everyone’s mind – when is Aaron Kampman coming back? Kampman’s impact on the pass rush and his fellow D-linemen last year cannot be underrated. He is both the emotional leader of the defense and it’s most consistent and determined performer. Before his second ACL tear in as many years, Kampman had put up 4 sacks and more QB hits than anyone in the league in the first 8 weeks of the season. After he was put on IR, the pass rush took a significant and very visible hit.
It’s been reported by the Times-Union that Kampman has resumed light practicing and should be back “within the next week or two”, but what’s taken so long? We all read about him leading the player-organized workouts throughout the summer and most of us expected him to be starting from Week 1…
Well, there are a few things to consider with serious injuries, specifically ACL tears. First, it usually takes a full 12 months to restore all of the strength in the injured knee; Kampman sustained his injury in early November last year, so he is still technically on schedule. Also, with ACL injuries it usually takes one year to recover physically and additional year to return to previous performance levels. Why? Because nursing an injury that serious for a whole year leads to a lot of psychological barriers that are tough to work through, even for professional athletes. It’s hard to just forget the past several months of surgery, pain, and rehab, and it takes time to play a physical sport with the abandon that is necessary to be effective. The last thought to consider is that sometimes, in the course of intense rehab, other parts of the body are thrown out of wack when they are strained too hard to compensate for the injury. Some inside sources have told me that Kampman has a tightened quadricep muscle that’s pulled his kneecap to one side and is causing some intense swelling, which has required constant draining.
It sounds like he’s getting closer to full health, but it will be important for fans to temper their expectation of Kampman’s performance for the first few weeks…and even more important for Tyson Alualu, Jeremy Mincey, Austen Lane, and the like to step up and put some pressure on opposing passers.
- Andrew Hofheimer